Victoria Sponge Cake

Every now  and  then  you are  reminded  of   why the   classics are  what  they are . Victoria   Sponge  Cake  is  one of those  recipes .  So named after  Queen  Victoria ,    who  was  partial to  the  sponge  cake   with  her   afternoon  tea .  This simple recipe   is not  just  for   royalty  ,  it  pairs  very well  with  afternoon tea to be  had on a laid  back Saturday afternoon .  This  batter based sponge  recipe  is    easy  to make  and very similar  to   the   pound  cake  recipes .  Serve  it  plain  with a   dusting   of   sugar  ,  make  a  sandwich   with  jam  or  as  I have  done  here   dress  up  with   berries   and  whip cream  for a  special occasion .

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Naked  or   semi clad   cakes  are  in vogue  now ,  and  rightfully so . These cakes speak  for  itself .   Simple ingredients ,   bold   fresh  flavors  and  not  overpowered by sugar , when  you serve   something  like  this , there is  little  room for  leftovers .

This  sponge    goes  down  the  familiar  path  of   equal  amount  of  eggs, butter ,  sugar , flour  by  weight .  I have   given  the   volume measurements ,    and   it  should   yield a  good  sponge  as  well .  But   I would     urge  you to  consider   weighing  the   ingredients  especially   when  making  larger quantity ..

Start   with  room  temperature  ingredients .  Measure  the  butter  and   sugar  into the  mixing  bowl .  Use  fine   sugar , in a pinch   powder  sugar in  the  blender .   Cream  butter   and  sugar  well .   To this   add  the  eggs  one  by one . After   each egg is  added  beat  well to   incorporate . Scrape  the   sides  down   while   beating .   What  wee  are  looking   for  here is a  uniform   batter .
As  the   eggs  are incorporated  the  batter   will  look   like   above .  Keep beating  to   add  as  much  air  into  it  as  possible .   Add  the  vanilla  essence   and  beat  till  it  is  mixed in   well.
Sift the   dry ingredients – flour ,  salt and the   baking  powder- together .  Sifting  helps  to  blend  the   flour  and  baking  powder  evenly as  well   as  to aerate   the   flours  .  This in turn  helps  create   the  classic   spongy   texture .   Add the   flours  to  the  egg  mixture .
If  you are   using  a  stand  mixer ,   switch to  low  and   use  the  paddle  to  slowly mix in the  flours .  But  I  would  recommend   using a  spatula  or   wooden  spoon .  Use  the  wooden  spoon to  fold  the  the   flour  into the  wet  mixture  using  circular  motions . We are  looking  for a  smooth batter , slightly  thick ,  with  no  dry flour  pockets .  If  the  batter   feels  more  like a  dough then  add a  couple  tablespoons  of  milk to   loosen it .

Divide  the  batter  into  2  greased  and  floured 8″ cake pans  .  This  is   a   thick  batter   and  hence  need  to be  spread  using a  spoon  .  Gently push the  batter   evenly to the   sides  and   smooth   the   top .  Do not   worry  about  the   small  imperfections ,  as the   cake bakes  the  batter will melt  and spread  out .  Bake in a  preheated  oven  at  350°F  (180°C) for  20 minutes .  Alternately  this  can  be  baked  as a   single cake in a 10 ” pan . Adjust  the  baking  times   accordingly .

Check  the   oven   5  minutes  before  the   baking  time . If  the    top    begins  to  brown  pull it  out immediately  . When  done  a   toothpick  inserted in the  middle  will   come  out   clean .

Let  the  cakes  cool in the   pan  for 5 minutes .  Invert  into a  cooling  rack  and   cool  completely .  If  serving   as  it  is , invert  into a plate or  cake  base   first and invert  back onto the   cooling rack  to a void  impressions  on top .

While  the   cake  is  cooling ,  gather  the  berries .   Make  sure  that   all  are    even sized .  Chop  the  big  ones  to  bite  size  pieces .   Here  I have  used  about  3  cups   in  all . Sprinkle  2  Tbsp  sugar on the  berries ,    mix  and  set it  aside  for  a  while ,  at  least  for 30   minutes     Alternately  this  can be  done  ahead  of  time  and  the  berries  can  be   refrigerated .

Take  1 C   chilled   whipping   cream in a  chilled  bowl .   Add 1/4 C  powdered  sugar    and a  drop of  vanilla  extract  . Whisk  well  until  still  peaks   form .  Keep  aside  in the  fridge  until  ready to frost .

Place   1  cake  top side  up on the   serving  platter .  Trim  the  top   if  necessary  .  Spread  the  berries on top in a  single  layer . Scoop   whipped  cream on top   of  the  berries . Spread a  little  using  the   back of a  spatula  or  spoon .
Trim the   top of  the  second  cake  if   very uneven . Place  it  on top  of  the  cream  ,  top side  down .  Gently press  down  to distribute  the  cream  filling  evenly .  At  this  point  you can  sprinkle some  powdered  sugar on top  and leave it  at  that .  Spread  a  couple more  spoon fulls  of  cream on top  and using a  spatula to  thinly coat  the  sides  and  top of  the   cake .  Wipe of  excess .
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Add  more  berries  to the  sides  and  top  as  desired .

Note :
The  best  way to  get  the  proportions  right  is  to  weigh   the  eggs   first   and  weigh the   other  ingredients  accordingly.

Have all the ingredients   at room temperature  before  beginning  make  the  batter .

Keeping  the  cake undisturbed  during  baking  is  important . Resist  the  urge   to peek  before  15 minute  mark . In case of  a  single  10″ cake   wait   till  20  minutes  at  least .

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Enjoy !!!
Victoria Sponge Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

Eggs - 200 gm (4 Large)
Flour - 200 gm (1 1/3 C)
Fine Sugar - 200g (1C)
Butter - 200 g (7/8 C)
Baking Powder - 2 1/2 Tsp
Salt - 1/4 Tsp
Vanilla Extract - 2 Tsp
Topping
Heavy Cream - 200 gms (1 C)
Powdered Sugar - 30 gms (1/4 C)
Vanilla extract - 1/4 Tsp
Mixed Berries - 3 C
Granulated sugar - 2 Tbsp

Instructions

Bring ingredients for the cake to room temperature .Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottoms of 2 circular 8" cake pans with parchment paper . Butter and flour the sides .Alternately butter and flour the bottom as well as the sides .

Sift the dry ingredients - flour , baking powder and salt - together .Cream the butter and sugar .Add eggs one by one , beating well to fully incorporate after each addition .Add vanilla extract and mix in .The mixture should be light and fluffy .

Using a wooden spoon or spatula fold in the dry ingredients . The batter should be thick but airy . If it feels more like a dough add a couple teaspoons of lukewarm milk to thin it .Divide into the prepared pans .Use the spatula to spread the batter evenly .

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes . Baking times vary .The cake is done when a tooth pick / tester inserted in the center comes out clean . The tops should be golden and the sides beginning to brown . Remove from the oven . Cool in the pan for 5 minutes , invert onto the cooling rack and cool .

To serve

Reserve a few berries for decoration . Cut the remaining into bite size pieces . Sprinkle 2 Tbsp granulated sugar on top and set aside .

Combine the heavy cream , powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whisk till stiff peaks form . If the weather is warm , chill the mixing bowl and whisk ahead of time .

Sandwich the cakes by putting a layer of berries and cream between . Spread a thin layer of cream on top and all around . Arrange the remaining berries on the cake and serve .

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